Tuesday, February 4, 2014


The math tuition time is a mind relaxer.

If you are a regular follower of my blogs, you will remember Periasamy.  If not, do a quick read here.

The episodes are continuing.  With the increase in standard, Akaash is doing his best to concentrate and learn, and I must admit he is getting better at understanding the concepts covered in the current syllabus – that is, a few lessons in units of measurement for this term.  Every day upon arrival, he is asked to recite the mantras, which he does religiously: one centimetre is equal to ten millimetres; one metre is equal to hundred centimetres; one kilometre is equal to thousand metres...

Then he is given light exercises to work upon.  He starts with high enthusiasm and pulls out the new fountain pen his grandpa had just got for him.  The moment he sees the pen, his thoughts begin to waver and instead of attending to the sum, he starts briefing us on he how got the pen and the varieties of pens available with his classmates.  Vasanthi drags him back to the exercise.    As hard as he tries to stick to purpose, it only takes an infinitesimal fraction of a second for his mind to completely ignore it and latch on to something new, something of more interest to him than the drab number crunching. We have observed that his distraction is constant, only the subject varies every day depending on what gets in between his eyes and his exercise book.

Yesterday, Vasanthi was a little tired when she got home from work, and wanted some rest before she could take up tuition.  She asked me to fill the gap by giving him exercises in multiplication and division, involving three to four digit numbers.  Akaash’s first reaction, as expected, was that these were out of syllabus!  We coaxed him into doing these as revision exercise for his good.  Reluctantly, he agreed and made several mistakes – due mainly to carelessness and secondly to forgetfulness.  A good half an hour was spent on making him re-do all the sums he did not do correctly.

When Vasanthi was ready, he was excited that the real tuition for the day had started and eagerly showed her the new purple clip-pad he had acquired. He was also confident about the units of measurement he was about to study, or revise, that day, until Vasanthi uttered the word ‘gram’ in place of ‘metre’.   His eyes froze as if he had seen a live snake.  Any amount of soft, medium and hard thrusting of the same concept would not register with him, even though she explained she was just replacing distance with weight, and metre with gram.  Not wanting to give up completely, she gave him the new mantra to recite for the next few days – one gram is equal to thousand milligrams, etc.

Glad that the lessons were finally over, Akaash got up, collected his purple clip-pad, closed his new fountain pen, put it in his pocket and jetted out, not before, as he does without fail every day, clinking the new bell Bharath had fitted on to his bicycle.

As I mentioned at the beginning, math tuition time is a mind-relaxer - certainly to Akaash, if not to Vasanthi!